How to Learn From the World’s Best Blogger

Smithsonian

I was recently asked for the name the world’s best blogger, which I took to mean, in a roundabout way, my favorite blogger. The questioner was looking to learn from the modern-day masters.

“Easy,” I said. “The most innovative, concise, incisive, well-written and thought-provoking blog couldn’t be found until recently on the World Wide Web. In fact, when it was originally written it had no triple-w address.” (Those were my exact words, for lack of an impromptu editor)

It was the height of innovation for its time, and it took a succession of bold editors in New York City to bring it to life. I stumbled on it in the Jackson Street Bookstore in Omaha – it’s a thing I do when I’m in a city that’s not my own, I look for a used book store and dive-in to get a feel for the locals.

So it was that among the ceiling-high stacks of previously read books in Nebraska I found the writings of the first and most innovative blogger. He’s become my favorite.

E. B. White, he of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little fame, wrote short essays for The New Yorker between 1927 and 1976 – eons before the internet. A collection of those essays, edited by Rebecca M. Dale, was published by Harper Perennial. They are the mold from which today’s blogs are made, but it took several decades for technology to catch-up with him.

They are at once sparse in length and laden with purpose – not a word dangles in uselessness. They are no more than a page in length and at times as short as a paragraph. White has a way of exalting the mundane, of honoring the ordinary and of finding the humanity in the midst of a bustling city. He was blogging before there were blogs. His entries have a definite structure and rhythm that lead the reader’s curiosity, and he never fails to deliver on poignancy. My Omaha copy is dog-eared and highlighted, underlined and coffee-stained.

It’s been out of print as far as I know for several years, but the good news is that you can still find copies for purchase online, and you can read many of his New Yorker essays at www.newyorker.com/contributors/e-b-white.

Your best bet, though, as I told my original questioner, is to wander through stacks in used bookstores wherever you may be and see if you can find a copy in paperback, the kind you can dog-ear and underline – it’s the best way to learn from the master.

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

Remembering Gus Garcia, Mexican-American Civil Rights Pioneer

Victor Landa July 27, 2017

By Raul A. Reyes, NBC News (7.5 minute read)   In his heyday, Gus Garcia cut a dashing figure in Texas legal and social circles. He was a key member […]

As Latino Sneakers Sales Go, So Goes the GDP

Victor Landa July 19, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  There’s news today from the Latino sneaker sales index, which is one of the most reliable economic indicators for U.S. Latinos. I found there’s a […]

The Immigrant Trailer Tragedy is One Story in 6,000

Victor Landa July 24, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (3 minute read)   An average of 428 people die each year attempting to cross the U.S. southern border. In the past 14 years 6,000 undocumented […]

La Uva, Mexican-American winemaking: Lucha, Oportunidad y Familia

Victor Landa August 4, 2017

By Eduardo Díaz, Director – Smithsonian Latino Center (3 minute read)    The advent of World War II (WWII) created a serious labor shortage in the United States. With so many men […]

Aztecs, Mayans marveled at eclipses — and predicted them with precision

Victor Landa August 21, 2017

By Liliana Valenzuela, Austin American-Statesman (2.5-minute read)  Astronomers across the ages have looked up to the skies and marveled at eclipses. Using different numerical systems, the Aztecs and the Mayans observed eclipses and […]

Many Latino College Students are Homeless, Hungry

Victor Landa July 25, 2017

NewsTaco HEALTH TUESDAY By Eric Moreno, Salud Today (2.5 minute read)   There are more Latino college students than ever before. The bad news is that the high cost of higher education […]

Meet the Young Latino Mayor Who Is Bringing Back His Rhode Island City

Victor Landa August 9, 2017

By Geraldine Cols Azocar, NBC News (5-minute read)  CENTRAL FALLS, Rhode Island — We hear a lot about millennials making waves in the entertainment and tech worlds, but a young […]

The Growth of the Latino Population is Slowing Down

Victor Landa

By Cliff Despres, Salud Today (1.5 minute read)  While still on the rise, the annual growth rate of the U.S. Latino population has dropped from 3.7% in 2006 to 2% in […]